Strasbourg is concerned the possibility of Russia‘s withdrawal from the Council of Europe, Russia’s Permanent Representative Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov said on Friday.

“In fact, the reason for the Council of Europe’s existence today is in many aspects the Russian factor. That’s why today they are unwilling to lose our money and contributions, as well as the scope of activities necessitated by Russia‘s membership in the Council of Europe,” he said in a Rossiya 24 TV channel broadcast.

In late July it was announced that Russia, one of the major contributors to the Council of Europe, suspended its contributions due to non-paricipation of the Russian delegation in the work of the council’s Parliamentary Assembly.

In April 2014, the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of key rights, including the right to vote and take part in the assembly’s governing bodies, following the developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The issue of restoring the rights of the Russian delegation was raised at PACE twice throughout 2015 but the sanctions are still in place: Russia is deprived of the right to vote and cannot take part in the Assembly’s governing bodies and elections monitoring missions.

In response, Russia suspended its participation in the PACE activities till the end of 2015. In January 2016, Russia refrained from applying for confirmation of its rights for 2016.

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